When Mae Whitman guest-starred on a 1996 episode of Friends, she didn’t share any scenes with Jennifer Aniston, but the more experienced actress certainly left an impression. And Whitman, who’s known for her work on shows such as Arrested Development and Good Girls, was only too happy to reunite with her on Wednesday’s edition of Live With Kelly and Ryan.
Whitman shared a snapshot of the moment (above).
During her interview, Whitman explained why her job on her favorite sitcom meant so much, even then. The child star appeared on Friends the same year she was in Independence Day and One Fine Day and two years before she played Bernice, Sandra Bullock’s daughter in Hope Floats.
“Why an 8-year-old loved Friends, I can’t tell you, but I found something relatable in there,” Whitman told the hosts. “And I remember, Jen was so kind to me. She made me feel I was a part of the cast, and she took such good care of me.”
In her episode, “The One Where Rachel Quits,” which originally aired on Dec. 12, 1996, one of the side stories is about Ross (David Schwimmer) breaking the leg of Whitman’s character, Sarah Tuttle. The break wrecks Sarah’s chances of selling cookies for the Brown Birds, a Girl Scouts-like organization, which devastates her because she wanted to offload the most in her group and claim the prize: a trip to Space Camp. Ross then attempts to make the sales himself, but a grown man selling cookies just doesn’t work. Sarah misses her goal, but Ross enlists Chandler and Joey to transform their apartment into the girl’s own personal camp.
So while Aniston and Whitman didn’t share any screen time, the Up Here star explained Wednesday that saying goodbye to Aniston was tough.
“I wept hysterically when we wrapped, and I made her a Christmas ornament with her name on it,” she said.
Whitman said the talk show run-in was the first time she had seen Aniston since.
“That was a big reunion,” Whitman said. “So that felt amazing to see her. She’s so cool.”
Live With Kelly and Ryan shared video of the two sharing a hug and some conversation during a break.
Aniston impressed at least one other young actor in the ’90s: Sarah Hyland. In 2019, the Modern Family alum shared an adorable photo of herself with co-stars Aniston and Paul Rudd in the 1998 movie The Object of My Affection to celebrate Aniston having joined Instagram. Hyland wrote in the caption, “Neither she, Paul Rudd, nor myself have aged since 1996. I love ya fake mama!”